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    Sex Offenders & Passports: The Latest News

    A few months ago, we shared information sex offenders and passports – specifically, a new passport rule affecting registered child sex offenders. Like most US citizens convicted of felonies, registered child sex offenders are able to legally get a passport so that they can travel internationally. The biggest exceptions are people who have been convicted of international drug trafficking or sex tourism crimes.

    But with the issuance of a new rule by the Department of State, most registered child sex offenders will have different passports that clearly mark them as convicted sex criminals.

    The new rule went into effect on May 11, 2018. Under the rule, the Department of State has the authority to revoke the standard passports of registered child sex offenders. Those people will then have the ability to apply for new passports, but their passports will have a statement printed on the inside back cover identifying them as sex offenders. This designation will not keep them from leaving the country or hinder their travel in general, but some countries may choose to prevent US citizens carrying such passports from entering their country. This is most likely to be the case in countries that have ongoing issues with sex tourism – the practice of international travelers visiting a country in order to engage in sexual activities with underage people.

    When we first reported on this rule, the proposed rule stated that the current passports of registered child sex offenders would be automatically revoked when the rule passed. That part of the rule has been changed. Now, even though the rule has passed, the standard passports of registered child sex offenders remain valid unless the State Department chooses to revoke said passports on an individual basis. The State Department could still opt to issue a blanket of passport revocations, but the passports haven’t been automatically revoked.

    So what does that mean for people who are on a sex offender registry? (There isn’t just one registry. States, territories, and many American Indian nations have their own registries, all of which can be searched here.)

    First, the new rule only affects registered child sex offenders, not registered sex offenders in general. As we mentioned in our previous article, crimes that can result in child sex offender status include kidnapping a child, molesting a minor, sexual conduct with a minor, engaging in lewd acts in the presence of a minor, and viewing or sharing child pornography (whether intentionally or inadvertently). Posting naked pictures of yourself if you are underage can also land you on a child sex offender registry, as can having sex with a teenager when you are also a teenager.

    Second, if you are a registered child sex offender but haven’t received any notification about your passport, you may want to speak to a lawyer. If you reach out to the State Department to find out if your passport has been revoked, it seems likely that your passport might get revoked in the process. That said, if you wait until you try to travel to find out if your passport is valid, that could cause major problems for you.

    If you are a registered sex offender and have questions related to your passport, please contact the Department of State for the most accurate information related to your situation.  You can also read the full rule here.

    As always, Swift is available to help you with your passport and visa needs.  Visit our website to get started with your application.

    4 thoughts on “Sex Offenders & Passports: The Latest News”

    1. My passport has not been revovked yet and no letter yet .I’m off Megan’s law next year should I wait to travel

    2. I just traveled to the Philippines over Thanksgiving and I had no problems. I have several child molesting charges from the early 2000’s. I fly in from a different country than the US and so they were not notified of my coming from the US. When I returned to the states they did not revoke my passport. I was very glad that there was no issues.

    3. Michael Jerald Parker

      January 23, 2020

      I was convicted of two counts of chiled pornorgaphy on my computer. I spent 10 months in county jail, had to pay a fine, received five years probation for each offense a total of ten years, five years supervised and five years unsupervised. Had to go to a sex offenders class for one year. Take Lie detector test and be placed on the sex offenders registry. My offense is a nonviolent offense. It is a Class H felony in the state of North Carolina. I want to try and get this expunged after I complete my ten year probation. When I moved from Virginia to North Carolina the Sheriffs Office told me that my probation would start over again with the ten year probation period. Can they do that, with out the order of the judge who sentence me. I think they were trying to scare me. Any one care to give me some kind of answer. I also want to get a passport to revisit Germany with my wife. But not sure of the laws in that Country. dose anyone have any Idea how to search on the net for their rules.

    4. Jeffrey Bolter

      A question please. My sex offense was 30 yes ago .I’m about to apply for a passport. I am moving to Mexico. Any thoughts ?

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